Splendour Posts A Success

The move by Australia’s Splendour In The Grass festival from Byron Bay to Woodfordia in Queensland proved to be a successful one. It drew between 32,000 and 35,000 punters – almost doubling the numbers done in its previous home.

The Pixies, The Strokes, Empire of the Sun, The Temper Trap, The Vines, Ash, Passion Pit and Mumford & Sons drew capacity crowds. The latter, clearly emotional over drawing the highest attendance over the three days, told cheering fans, “It is without a doubt the best festival lineup anywhere in the world this year.”

Another high was when Ben Harper invited INXS drummer Jon Farriss on at the end of his set for a spine tingling rendition of “Never Tear Us Apart.” Harper has recorded the song for an INXS tribute album, which will also see reinterpretations from Rob Thomas, Train’s Pat Monahan, Vanessa Amorosi and Perth band Eskimo Joe.

But it was less than an impressive debut from Richard Ashcroft, making his eagerly awaited first visit to the country. One song into his set with his new band United Nations Of Sound, he kicked over his mic stand, threw a tambourine at the drum kit and walked off stage.

Fifteen minutes later, the crowd was told he would not be returning as he had voice problems. Ashcroft’s manager Jazz Summers confirmed that the singer was receiving medical treatment. But media reports claimed the singer was peeved that he had been put on at the same time as The Pixies.

Splendour’s success has also proven to be a problem for organizers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Pittico. They want the event to return to Byron Bay, where they have purchased a 267-hectare site.

But council and 33 community and environmental groups in the sleepy picturesque hamlet are antagonistic. They say that Splendour is far too big an event for the area.

Meanwhile, Allan Sutherland, the mayor of the region representing Woodfordia –home to Woodford Folk and the indigenous Dreaming festivals – says he wants Splendour to remain in Queensland.

He has spoken to the promoters: “I all but begged them to stay.”